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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 25, 2018

Uvalda Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty To Filing False Tax Returns

SAVANNAH, GA: On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, Betty Mclain, 66, pled guilty to aiding and assisting the preparation of a false tax return before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen, Jr. 

According to the evidence presented at the plea hearing, Mclain operated Betty’s Tax Service next to her home in Uvalda, Georgia.  To increase her business and attract more clients, Mclain prepared tax returns that falsely claimed the taxpayer and dependents attended and spent money on colleges at which they were never enrolled.  The vast majority of the 2,000 returns filed by Mclain since 2011 claimed these education tax credits.   Following an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division into the accuracy of the returns, a grand jury in Savannah charged Mclain in February 2018 with twenty-four counts of preparing false tax returns for others and three counts of filing her own false tax returns.  In each count, Mclain was alleged to have prepared a tax return that claimed education credits to which the taxpayer was not entitled. 

As a result of the fraudulent tax returns she prepared, Mclain defrauded the IRS out of nearly $1,000,000.  Mclain pled guilty to one count of aiding and assisting the preparation of a tax return for a client whom she falsely claimed was entitled to education credits totaling $5,119.  In pleading guilty, Mclain agreed to never again prepare tax returns for anyone else. 

Mclain faces a statutory maximum sentence of 3 years in prison, 1 year of supervised release, and a $100,000 fine.  Parole has been abolished in the federal system.

United States Attorney Bobby L. Christine stated, “Teamed with our dedicated partners at IRS, our Office will work to ensure that corrupt tax return preparers are put out of business and behind bars.  Tax cheats have no place in the Southern District of Georgia.” 

"Mclain's plea is a victory for the United States Taxpayer. Not only did Mclain admit to the allegations against her, but she also agreed to never prepare tax returns again," said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. "IRS, Criminal Investigation will continue to utilize its resources and stop these fraudulent return preparers in their tracks".‎

Return preparer fraud, identity theft, and inflated refund schemes are three of the Internal Revenue Service’s Dirty Dozen List of Tax Scams for 2018. The IRS has some information on its website about selecting a return preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers. Also, the IRS has a list of steps on its website that you can take in anticipation of filing your federal income tax return and ten tips for choosing a tax preparer.

The investigation was led by IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Savannah.  For additional information, please contact the United States Attorney’s Office at (912) 652-4422.

Updated May 29, 2018